New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Comment >

A world in which everyone benefits

WHATEVER the outcome of the G8 meeting today, we know that the struggle against the effects of poverty must continue for many years to come. This was at the heart of the campaigners' message: that global justice needs to be built into the way the world does business. As the organisers of Live 8 said repeatedly, aid is not enough. And, as the 225,000 demonstrators in Edinburgh on Saturday showed, people in this country are prepared to go further than simply filling a Christian Aid envelope once a year. Perhaps this will prove to have been the week when politicians got the message and started acting on it. the task, though, will be a long one.

In the mean time, President Bush's statement last weekend that he would not take any action that was to the detriment of his country was commendably honest and profoundly depressing. He is, of course, the President of the United States, and not, say, of Ghana, Angola, or Mozambique. Nevertheless, he seemed to take no account of the widespread damage caused by recent US administrations in those and other countries overseas, where often democratically elected governments were overthrown with US assistance. Nor, indeed, did he take account of the millions of dollars that the United States gives in aid, derived both from government funds and charitable donations. Neither fits the isolationist, self-preserving image that Mr Bush projected.

It is clear that the notion has yet to take hold that creating a juster, fairer, cleaner world benefits everyone, including Americans. Some seem to look no further than the fact that there will be an inevitable financial cost to people in the richer nations. Giving money away means that they have less to spend on themselves; Western politicians become nervous when they think their electorates might catch on to this. But, in the first place, it isn't all their money: developed nations are wealthy, in part, because they set a low price for raw materials bought from poorer nations, and accept a low price for manufactured goods made in countries with cheap labour.

In the second place, riches cannot be measured merely in monetary terms. Dr Williams spoke at the weekend about the way the world is shrinking through faster communication and travel. "This is a world where, literally and metaphorically, infection travels faster than ever. Pandemics, poverty, ecological degradation are everyone's business, and there is no escape pod reserved for those who are comfortable and prosperous just at the moment. Suddenly the question 'Who is my neighbour?' has a very clear answer: my neighbour is the suffering stranger in Africa or South-East Asia. My life is as much bound up with theirs as with the lives of people who happen to be more like me." The riches of living at peace with our neighbours are of infinitely more value than anything material that we have gathered and stored in our locked barns.

Job of the week

Online Vicar

London and Home Counties

SOUL SEARCH ONLINE VICAR 20 hours a week working from home, pay is £20,000 Are you passionate about evangelism? Does digital media excite you as a means to connect with people to share the goo...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Archbishop who was driven out of office

Holding fast in troubled waters

William Sancroft, born 400 years ago this month, was Archbishop of Canterbury in turbulent times; his period in office included incarceration in the Tower of London. John Tiller tells his story  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

Improving the future by disturbing the present

Interim minsters do much more than hold the fort: they can implement lasting change, say Helen Gheorghiu Gould and Peter Hill  Subscribe to read more

Sun 22 Jan 17 @ 18:15
New theological college in Yorkshire, St Hild, goes for the ‘St Mellitus effect’ https://t.co/FX7KFgZgnG

Sun 22 Jan 17 @ 16:12
'Refugees are freezing to death while European leaders turn a blind eye to suffering of people on their doorsteps' https://t.co/jm2WWgoLzB